Exceedingly Rare German Weimar Republic Overdate 5 Reichsmark

With the recent close of our Stack’s Bowers Galleries August ANA World’s Fair of Money auction in Chicago and the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio Hong Kong Showcase Auction, the time has come to begin looking toward our next world coin auction. Held in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo in Baltimore this October, Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to continue as the official auctioneers for this event. Our first world coin preview features the potentially unique discovery of an overdate piece for the German Weimar Republic. The Stack’s Bowers Galleries world team has never seen an overdate piece for this ill-fated German government, nor have leading German coin experts and enthusiasts. Succeeding the dismantled Imperial German government after World War I, the Weimar Republic was disliked by moderates and loathed by extremists on both the left and the right. A multitude of reasons brought about the disintegration of the Weimar government and the rise of the Nazi totalitarian government led by Adolf Hitler, most notably economic problems brought about by the war reparations forced upon Germany after the First World War. The Great Depression also severely weakened the struggling state.

These factors are vital to understanding the reason this piece came into existence. The year of the overdate is a good starting point. In mid-1931 the Weimar government faced dire predicaments. In May there were four million unemployed workers and in July there was a German bank crisis. It seems plausible that these financial disasters stymied plans for the 1931 mintage. Heading into 1932, dies dated 1931 must have been in excess, and considering the oft-mentioned financial troubles, it must have seemed economically savvy to alter a 1931 die into a 1932/1 die. This may not have been approved by the mint overseer, or another official at the mint. Whatever the case, it can be assumed that only a very small number (if any more than this example) were produced or survived to the present day.

The design features an oak tree, with the date divided by the trunk at the bottom, and the mintmark “A” for Berlin among the roots of the tree. “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” composes the outer legend, which translates to “Unity and Justice (or Law) and Freedom.” The reverse displays the Reichswappen (German heraldic eagle) in a triumphant pose within a beaded circle. “Deutsches Reich” (German Realm) appears above, and was the official name for the government. The German word Reich was a word used for many ideas, and in this case the English “Realm” seems the most accurate translation. It would of course come to mean Empire again under Hitler, who sought to forge a new German Reich throughout Europe. Hitler’s ‘Third Reich’ was a successor to the Holy Roman Empire and the more recent German Empire that collapsed at the conclusion of World War I. The denomination of “Funf Reichsmark” appears in the lower portion of the legend. There is faint rose hued toning present on the obverse and even, pleasing smoke colored toning on the reverse.

Look for this and other world and ancient numismatic rarities in our upcoming October/November Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. Our Stack’s Bowers Galleries October/November Baltimore Whitman Coins and Collectibles Winter Expo Auction is still open for further consignments of PCGS and NGC certified world coins. We are also currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our January 2015 New York International Auction and our inaugural December Macau Showcase Auction of Asian Coins and Currency. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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